The Unquiet Heart follows Truth, Dare, Kill, the first in Gordon Ferris’s series featuring 1940s private eye Danny McRae.
With Ferris, it is hard to know what to praise first: the striking evocation of austerity Britain or the powerfully handled crime narrative with strongly delineated characters. London in 1946 is suffering under the privations of rationing. Low-rent private detective Danny McRae is holding down a precarious living when he meets reporter Eve Copeland, desperate to find new initiatives to kickstart her faltering career.
The two make a good team, until Eve vanishes -- and one of Danny’s contacts comes to a brutal end. Danny is soon plunged into a dark, minatory world of black-marketeers and double agents, even travelling to a war-damaged Berlin, where the Cold War is lurching into menacing life. What is particularly encouraging here is the author’s determination to continue to produce fresh and invigorating work; all the elements that made the earlier books accessible are in place (quirky, idiosyncratic characterisation and wonderfully evoked wartime locales), but adding the early shoots of the cold war as a crucial part of the plot engine works wonderfully in moving the novels on from the concerns of its predecessors.
Ferris is a writer to watch.